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tv   [untitled]    April 3, 2012 12:30pm-1:00pm EDT

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eliminati elimination. >> can you give me before you answer just for example, for the record, one that was eliminated? one that we would be familiar with, perhaps. >> so they extend both from eliminating rules like ones that were still on the books that apply to telegraph. second, we eliminated the fairness doctrine riequirements from our books. we've also eliminated requirements that restrict spectrum use, promoting flexible use of spectrum that commissioner mcdowell talked about. so the regulations we eliminated they extend from the, why is that still on the books, to there are barriers and burdens to innovation investment that shouldn't be there and we should eliminate them. >> thank you. and i thank the chairman, by the way. we have a very good working relationship. he doesn't take it personally when i dissent.
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it's worth a lot in this town. i think. i would love to see a comprehensive list of those 200. i don't have one. so that would be helpful. i think. in some cases we would have to vote on them. in other cases we don't have to vote on them. so at the same -- i'll take him at his word that some 200 requirements have been removed from the books. at the same time, a few area where is there were rules added to the books. maybe 200. it's terrific. let's continue that trend. but at the same time let's make sure we're not taking one step forward, two steps back with more regulation. >> but you don't know of any that have been withdrawn? you say there are 200, but you haven't seen that list? >> i don't have the list. i may have voted on a fraction of those, but i haven't seen a comprehensive list of those 200 that might be helpful to disclose that. >> well, i'm sure this friendly hearing and the example that we set here will allow you guys to
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share that information so that we know. chairman, please tell us about your connect to compete initiative and update us on how this effort to increase internet accessibility to disadvantaged families is working. you know, this is an issue that continues to trouble many of us and it's really a bipartisan thing. we've grown and we've grown in the internet and all these other gadgets we have and everything and yet we still manage to leave some folks behind. and that's not right. that's not right anywhere. we're not the best in the world -- we're the best in the world as a country. we're not the best at including everybody in these new technologies. so what are we doing? >> about one-third of american whose could have broadband don't. as you indicate in a world where for example job postings have moved almost completely online and job applications are in almost all cases required to be submitted online not having
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access to broadband is a very big deem. deal. the percentages that i mentione. deal. the percentages that i mentiom.d deal. the percentages that i mentiom.d deal. the percentages that i mentio. d deal. the percentages that i mentio d deal. the percentages that i mentiode. the percentages that i mentioned are highest in particular communities from rural americans the elderly minority communities, there are a number of different reasons for it. there's no silver bullet to moving the needle on adoption. the connect to compete initiative is something that we have great hope for. one of the issues that people face in signing up for broad -- signing up for broadband is cost. another issue is digital literacy. some people don't know how to use the computer. they don't know how to upload documents. the cable industry to their credit announced a program to offer low-cost broadband, $9.95 a month, to family whose have
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kids on school lunch programs. and companies -- other companies joined this initiative to help on the digital literacy side. microsoft, for example, is offering more courses to help people understand how to use basic software. best buy is deploying its geek squad to help people understand the basics of the internet. this is a bipartisan issue. it's a broad national challenge. and i look forward to working with the committee and with my colleagues to find ways to improve the broadband adoption metrics. >> thank you so much. >> mr. alexander. >> thank you, ma'am. >> mr. chairman, we're glad to have you here today. you submitted a budget to the congress about 2% above last year's budget and in washington standards that's good. but if you look at some of the other agencies ftc, for instance, 4% less than last year.
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since those that you regulate pay that bill, is there anything in your department that could be trimmed back a little bit so we could get down to less than at 2%? >> i'm concern whether we can accomplish our mission with the budget. we did a lot of work to develop the budget to save as much money as we can. we received a letter from apple and we heard from other device makers very concerned if we have the resources we need to deal with the proliferation of new devices like that ipad. because each of those devices has to be certified by the fcc as compliant with a missions obligation. i'm concerned about that. i'm concerned about the growing complexity of our word and some of the increase that you mentioned is directly related to
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saving money. and so, for example, we've proposed data center consolidation initiatives and cloud computing initiatives that will cost, i think, the number is about $6 million in 2012. but those we project will save about $2.5 billion on an annual basis once they're completed. it's exactly the kind of thing that every private sector company is doing looking to make targeted investments to save money and lower the baseline. >> okay. a minute ago you said about one-third of the public could have but don't have broadband. tell me what that means. >> well, there are two university broadband gaps. both presenting very significant issues. but they're somewhat different. so one is the broadband deployment gap. there are millions of americans
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who live in rural areas where there's no broadband infrastructure at all. in our universal service reform that we worked on together commissioner mcdowell and i and our colleagues we sought to reform an outdated program to efficiently drive broadband deployment to rural america where there's no infrastructure at all. and then there's the broad band adoption gap. these are areas where the infrastructure is there, but people haven't signed up. so if you haven't signed up, you can't look for a job online. if your kid is required as part of their school work to be online, they can't do it. we hear from families there's a teenage girl in florida who wrote us to say to do her homework show goes to the library at night and sits outside because the library is closed to get access to their wi-fi because her family doesn't have broadband at home. so that's the broadband adoption issue and the metric is about
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one ther-third of americans don have an adopted broadband. >> one more question. there are few things out there when we're having town hall meetings stir anger anymore tha. does the universal service fund buy cell phones for those below poverty? >> there's a program called lifeline that's existed for many years to help low-income people have access to basic telecommunication service like a telephone. last month or two months ago we adopted some major reforms to that program, the most significant reforms to make sure we tackleanwaste and inefficiene in those programs. every dollar in a program like that should go towards its intended purpose. >> i didn't hear an answer. do we buy cell phones for people? >> there's a program that subsidizes communications access and it does subsidize mobile
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phone use, only one per person is allowed so people can choose under the program between land line access or mobile access. the program is designed to make sure has low-income people have access to basic communication service. >> do you have any idea how many phones are out there that the taxpayers have paid for? >> i'd hesitate to guess, but we can get that for you. >> okay. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. thank you chairman and commissioner for being here today. i've got a couple of questions. you know, as i was explaining to the chairman before the hearing began today, i've got a little background in broadcasting in small market radio. i have a couple of questions about that. i know a lot of the discussion has been among public inspection files as it concerns tv broadcasters and what have you. but i've got a constituent in my district that owns five radio stations. he also happens to be my father.
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and when we talk of -- because it's been a while since i've been in the trade. my relationship to the business now is he interviews me once in a while, but his argument is the onerous recordkeeping that he has to keep specifically in the area of equal opportunity employment. now you have to understand that his business is in an area where there is a pretty significant population of latinos in the area. according to him if i understand his explanation he has to go to great extremes to promote and to try to recruit potential applicants into his operation from a certain ethnic minority or other minorities.
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and he's finding it increasingly difficult to do because of the available pool but at the same time the fcc has these requirements for this massive recordkeeping. now, understand, this is a small business. you've already alluded to the fact if a so many of the things we're talking about, i think the commissioner said it a minute ago, a lot of these businesses are very small businesses. in his case a very, very small business. this is an extraordinary hardship on the company to try to meet these demands. so what gives? >> the, eo obligations are very long standing and serve very worthy purposes. >> i don't dispute that at all. >> i understand that. >> i'm not aware of the specific concerns. i say as a general matter anything that we can do to reduce unnecessary burdens particularly on small burdens we would be very open to looking
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at. we do run general proceedings asking for input on how we can reduce unnecessary burdens. i appreciate the question and we will go back and look at any issues in that area and make sure that any recordkeeping requirements are required necessary and efficiently meet the purposes of the rules. >> commissioner? >> well, i'll take a minute to look at that. obviously the requirements are a matter of law and also a good idea. so if they can't be streamlined i would certainly support it as you might have guessed. so we can get working on that. >> fantastic. thank you. i was kind of captivated by the discussion about the inspection file. and i can certainly appreciate the fact that in a kind of digital age we're in right now it shouldn't be a problem to upload a lot of the stuff that would be in a paper file to and john line presence. i guess my question comes down
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to what -- do we have mission creep as we call it in the military, between fec, fcc. how do we decide and disearn between the two federal agencies hoop responsible for what? because it appears to me that we have the fcc involved in something that is clearly the matter of the fec. so help me understand that. >> to the extent the fec is involved in this area it goes back many, many years. a part of the public trustee obligations of broadcasters, and as i mentioned, cog codified this in 2002. >> does it -- sorry to
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you mentioned small businesses and commissioner mcdowell mentioned that as well. one of the suggestions that came in in the record was to look at ways to exempt small businesses from this move or give them more time to make the transition. in general even small broadcasters are engaging with the fcc online and a renewal application haves to be online. they are after all broadcasting and -- but to the extent that there are burden issues that can be addressed those are issues that have been raised on the record and we will look at them. >> commissioner. >> i want to clarify that broadcasters came to us and wanted us to move a lot of these file requirements to be online.
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but they wanted the political file component carved out because of the proposed costs. so that's really i think what's at issue here. it's not transparency. it is the cost to broadcasters first of all uploading the old files and maintaining in realtime. i don't think anyone's against disclosure. or transparency. that's a very good thing. you raise an excellent and good point for congress to consider is the fcc is best equipped agency to be in the federal election law business or is that the rule of the fec? i think we should keep all of that in mind. >> the chairman mentioned earlier today in discussions about the regulatory burdens that have been dropped over time and you mentioned specifically fairness doctrine. what are the requirements today? help me out here to understand what in regard to the fairness doctrine, what is the rimt today
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and whether or not there is any initiative under way or thought process under way to bring back, shall we say, this fairness doctrine? >> just the opposite. i feel very strongly about the first amendment free speech -- the fairness doctrine, in my view, was a bad first amendment idea from the start, and i was pleased to work with my colleagues to eliminate the last vestiges on the books. >> so about a year ago i was giving a speech we were going through i had to ask my legal team to go through the fec rules to get rid of the rules. everyone thought the fairness doctrine had died in 1987 and actually the heart and soul of it remained on the books. just the fec decided not to enforce itk the chairman i think very
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graciously took that cue and then got rid of it from our books. but the bigger issue can be when you say fairness doctrine, all the phones at radio stations light up and all the blogospheres start to light up as well. there are other ways the fcc can regulate speech through broadcast license renewals. as we go through the media ownership rules which could determine what the licensing terms, will it be eight years, will it be three years? what would be the cry tier criteria for getting your license renewed, et cetera. it is always important to look at these rules as well. anything that could be the fairness doctrine. mark my words it won't be called the fairness doctrine. it would be called something else. so we need to keep that in mind always. >> i have some questions about broad band to come up later. is the fcc the -- the proponent
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agency on -- i won't get this term right, i can explain it the royalty fees paid to the song writers, artists, it's not under an fcc umbrella, is that correct? >> correct. >> whose umbrella is that under? >> i don't know. but it's not us. that's all i know. >> that's a good thing and will save a couple of minutes in my round of questioning. for that i yield back. >> and mr. diaz-balart. >> thank you very much. good to see you. let me first start by madam chairman, telling you that the commissioner, the chairman and staff have been exceedingly open to myself and to my staff, and i thank you for that. to have the opportunity to nome not only speak with you, but meet with you, and i want to thank you for that. we spent a lot of time talking about transparency any a number of different areas. when we were preparing for this
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meeting and then the issue of light square kind of came back and we were kind of -- i was kind of ---because since you've been so open to me, i was a little shocked at some of the things i've read about light square. about the fact that you had a member of the senate in essence saying that you couldn't get the information. the fcc told him that, the information of that sort is only given to members of relevant committees, which obviously this one would be included in that, but because of that i sort of kind of started digging in a little bit, because i was frankly shocked, because of the fact that you have been so open to me and to my staff, but one of the things, obviously, it would be said that was something reportedly contributors, the administration kind of smelled that. but since i don't buy that, we did a little bit of our own
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digging. what i came up with. something that frankly kind of shocked us a little bit. speaking of transparency. and that's the issue of freedom of information act requests. now, if you look -- if you look at -- i'll tell you what the au the sources, the u.s. government website. you look at just the number of freedom of information act requests and denials. according to that website, the f krrk c is denying more freedom of information acts under this new fcc than in the past. significantly greater percentage of denials compared to other government agencies. for example, in 2010, the fcc denied 48% of freedom of information act requests while the rest of the government denied only 7.3%. that's a pretty darn huge difference. let me also put in perspective,
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some of that data on that website indicates that the fcc has started denying an unusually large percentage of freedom of information requests because of this thing called not reasonably described. now under your watch, the fcc denied about 16.4% of requests based on records that were not quote, reasonably described. but again, not only is that a huge increase from previous fcc years, only 3% denial based on that, but much higher than even the cia, chi thought was a big deal. the cia denial was 0.7% denial rate the same year on that same issue. so why is the fcc all of a sudden have more secretsth whenh these requests? >> i'm not familiar with those numbers and i haven't heard them
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before. would be happy to look at them together with you and try to understand the trends. certainly we recognize our obligations under foia and we have a team of professionals who handle foia requests and understand their obligations to comply and meet the observes under law. >> again, the reason i was taken back is precisely because of the relationship i've had with you and my staff. it seems like outside of me, or us, or congress, even with some members of congress, it seems there may be different. again, if you look at for example, those that are denied for not reasonably described. if you look at again 16.4% for the fcc, the cia, 0.7%.
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there is a huge denial of freedom of information particularly under this category of not reasonably described that i don't think shows transparency and does not reflect the president's public call for transparency. because of the relationship i would like to spend some time with you all and look at what's going on there. i think there's a serious issue there. i'm sure there's a good explanation. but i don't understand what it would be. that's number one. another issue that i ran into -- budgetary issues. personnel, the requests are flat. >> correct. >> one of the things that struck me rather large was too small,
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and i apologize, i'm going to complain to my staff about that. particularly after 49.5 my ot t. it's salaries. the increase on the fcc of employees earning $150,000 or above. so even though the number of employees may be flat, those making $150,000 and above have increased rather dramatically. that's what this chart reflects. >> would you like to submit that for the record? >> that would be great. it's a huge increase of individuals that are now earning over 150% -- $150,000 in salary. down from 46 to 2008. to 431 in 2009, to 535 in 2011.
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that's the pretty astonishing increase. so what changed between 2008 and 2009 that required such an increase in pay? is it different individuals? i'm not sure what that actually shows us other than that the fact that the numbers are pretty astonishing. >> i'm not familiar with the reasons for that particular increase in general. the work of the fcc requires highly skilled engineers, economists, others with advanced degrees to do our work. over time the employee base at the fcc has become more focused on that as we move from paper to digital and there have been consequence for the the employee base in that regard. that is part of the reason for it be trend. a second is and i'm proud of this, the retention of the fcc has been reasonably high.
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that's affected those numbers as well. i certainly offer to work with you on understanding the numbers. the work that the fcc does in terms of generating auction revenue, innovation in the space. i am convinced it requires first rate engineering talent, economists, lawyers, and we certainly lose many, many perspective, potential employees because we can't come close to come peetsing with other offers that they have. that's just life in government and i understand that. >> i understand that. again, because i'm not being accusetory. when you look at the numbers in 2006 there was 38 employees, if 4 is totally accurate. this is from a website also a federal government website. all this is public. i do commend you for that.
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2006, 38 employees earning $150,000 or above. 2008, 46. and then in 2008 from 46 to 431 in 2009. a 17 in 2010 and 535. i'm not great at math, but there's a pretty substantial increase no matter what. we're not dealing with people that went from $75,000 to $85,000. we're talking about people make over $150,000. again, those are astonishing numbers. these raise some serious questions. mr. alexander maybe you look at ways to reduce that 2% increase.
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>> thank you. >> thank you, madam chair. i appreciate you both being here. i appreciate your service to our country. a chance to have a conversation this afternoon as we look at how we move forward. certainly this committee and this congress seems to be focused on job creation, economic growth, reducing and bringing our federal expenditures in line with our available revenue. i'm sure you share those goals. i appreciate your comment this is morning. one of the comments was related to light squared. i don't know that's been discussed today. it harkens back to last year when we were dealing with this issue many of us were getting a flood of concerns from across the country that the progression of light squared would have an
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effect on gps. we're all familiar with how that has progressed. as we move forward in proerkss committee and one of my colleagues and i move forward with austria and i move forward with an amendment to instruct the fcc to tighten up its process on light squared to hit some benchmarks to assure congress that light square was not going to violate existing gps spectrum and part of the challenge is folks like myself have garmin in their district and rely certainty in these markets before they invest and grow, it can scare off potential investment. first of all, my understanding is that's in the present budget this year the same language placed by the committee last year. my questions are one, where are we going with light square in particular? what's the latest?


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